On Monday MPs came out with the highly sensible suggestion that the parents of youngsters who are appearing in court be forced to attend their trial. A
good idea, said justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin, who went on to explain that so many people were already involved in juvenile court hearings that it would be very difficult to organise from a practical point of view.
You would think that a government as family-orientated as this one would consider it a priority to get parents to hear what their offspring have been up to, but obviously not.
Still, in Amsterdam’s Slotervaart district they’ve got their own ideas. The borough council is stumping up €2.5m for an experiment to give 150 youngsters who ‘are in danger of going off the rails’ a coach who will be with them from 8am to 8pm.
Parents will sign a contract with the council which gives the coach the right to interfer with the child’s upbringing – the term ‘child’ is used loosely here, the scheme will cover 12 to 23-year-olds.
The coach will be involved with their charge’s school, what they do in their spare time and even what they eat. And if parents don’t do what they are told, they could, apparently, even be fined.
What the penalty will be for coaches who fail to get 23-year-olds to eat up their greens and go to bed early remains to be seen.
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